Thursday, May 6, 2021

US Supports Proposal to Waive Patents on COVID Vaccines to Boost Supply

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the Biden-Haris administration will support the proposal to temporarily waive patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Covid-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine

Could the US Move to Waive Patents on Covid Vaccines Boost the Fight Against the Pandemic?

US govt announced support for the Covid-19 vaccine patent waiver proposal by India and South Africa to boost supply.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the Biden-Haris administration will support the proposal to temporarily waive patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO), she announced on behalf of the Biden administration that this was a 'need to take unusual steps in the event of a global disaster.

At the same time, a change in the international intellectual property protection rules of the WTO will require consensus, which will take a lot of time. 

Katherine Tai also said that while the American government still "strongly believes" in intellectual property protection, it supported waiving patents for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines to help boost the global production of Jabs.

India and South Africa have proposed that due to the dangerous situation of Covid-19 in developing countries, there is a great need for vaccines in these countries. Therefore, America should support them in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and help them reach the covid vaccine to covid-19 affected countries.


Currently, only pharmaceutical companies with patent protection are allowed to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines.

A lifting patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines will allow any company that has the required technology and infrastructure to produce COVID-19 vaccines. This will lead to two things - vaccines will be cheaper and more affordable, and this would be a big step in overcoming the vaccine shortage.

The decision of the Joe Biden Administration to give a Waiving Patent for the corona vaccine is not acceptable to some pharmaceutical companies.


What Pharmaceutical Companies are Arguing against Patent Waiving on Covid Vaccines?

In this case, the pharmaceutical companies are not agreeable, but they are also underlining its loss.

Stephen J. Ubl, chief executive officer and president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), says this will hurt efforts to fight the epidemic, according to a New York Times report. This decision will create confusion in public and private partners.

Stephen Ubl says that this will weaken the supply chains already working under a lot of pressure. Apart from this, it will also encourage the production of fake vaccines.

Ubl also said that a dangerous effect of this would also be that American discoveries would reach countries that want to damage the biomedical discoveries of America.

“Intellectual property law is the lifeblood of biotech, it is like oxygen to our industry. If we take it away, we don’t have a biotech sector", said Brad Loncar, a biotechnology industry investor and CEO of Loncar Investments.


Angela Merkel, a German Chancellor, has expressed opposition to the proposal of the Biden administration to suspend intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, saying that it would have serious implications for vaccine production worldwide. Intellectual property protection is a source of innovation and should remain so in the future. "


The pharmaceutical industry argues that patent waiving on COVID vaccines will cause great harm to risk-taking and innovation. 

Brenton L. Saunders, the former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Allergan, questioned in his tweet who would make the vaccine. On the other hand, global health activists demanding this exemption have praised this decision of the Biden administration.

Priti Krishtel, executive director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge, says that bison has shown that she is a leader not only in the US but in the whole world.

The pharmaceutical industry says that patent waiving will not accelerate vaccine production. He says that there are many obstacles in this, ranging from the supply of raw materials to the distribution. Pfizer, an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation says that the company needs 280 items from 86 suppliers from 19 countries for the vaccine. In addition, special staff and equipment are used separately.


Dr. Michelle McMurray, President & CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), says that this would be like giving a recipe book to countries without the necessary material. This will not help the people waiting for the vaccine. The statements backed by the Biden administration have fallen in the market share of companies such as Moderna, an American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, and Novavax, an American vaccine development company.

Delay in the Covid-19 vaccine may allow the virus to create new variants. Moderna had announced in October last year that it would not insist on applying patent protection law to vaccine makers to fight coronavirus pandemic. But critics of the Biden-Haris administration's decision also say that the move will discourage pharmaceutical companies.

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